COMMUNITY-led moves to tackle the obesity crisis will start to tap in businesses across the region in a bid to shake up a complex issue.
The pioneering Central Highlands Regional Partnership's Prevention Lab is preparing to put prototypes in place to start what it bills a cultural revolution.
This comes a year after launching the Prevention Lab to tailor solutions for this region, one of the most overweight and obese regions in Victoria. In the time since, this has involved engaging 200 people from a broad cross-section on communities in focus groups, work shops, design sprint think-tanks and interviews.
About 60 community members, canvassed from talks, met on Wednesday to make the next move forward.
Central Highlands Regional Partnership chairman George Fong said this ultimately meant tapping into sectors, like the business community, that were not typically involved on such a front.
"This issue is not just about welfare. It is affecting productivity," Mr Fong said. "We need to engage with them, but also be working with practitioners to effectively change culture.
"This isn't about making people better but trying to chance the way we live. We need lifestyle changes. We need to be taking control and try to give what we know is going to be effective.
"It's important for the next generation. If we don't quite get it right for us, let's at least make sure we are setting up the right culture for the next generation."
The Prevention Lab's ground-breaking approach quickly captured attention and earned praise from University of Melbourne public health professor and global health champion Rob Moodie. Professor Moodie said solutions had to be local and driven collectively to make a big difference.
Healthy Futures Australia's Shelley Bowen, who has been leading the Prevention Lab research, said people no longer needed convincing the Central Highlands had an obesity crisis but rather, people wanted solutions.
And, not surprisingly, this was a layered and complex issue.
"Overwhelmingly, we found people were stuck on this problem," Dr Bowen said.
"We're going to have to create something big and bold to turn around the food systems to ensure affordable, fresh and healthy food and access to exercise is for everyone in every part of the region."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.